missy h. dunaway

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I’ve just returned from my nerdiest excursion yet: an entire day studying mushroom flora of the Belgrade Forest. I joined this tour out of curiosity, not expecting it to effect my artistic practice. I underestimated nature yet again. Above is a photo of Coprinoid Mushrooms, which leak black ink as they decompose. After photographing the clump above, I discreetly plucked them from their tree stump and smuggled them out of the forest in a crumpled map.

They are sitting in a bowl at this very moment, and I plan to document my ink-making experiments, and the resulting drawings. Very excited! 

Disappointing update: two days later the mushrooms sprouted a kilo of mold and I was forced to toss them. 

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Above is one of the four carpet paintings I’ve been laboring over this past month. This design is typical of Milas, a southwestern city in Turkey. Predominant symbols included are stems of hyacinth flowers (center) and a triangular evil eye pendent (found at the top of the arch), which is believed to ward off evil spirits such as jealousy. I find color to be the most seductive quality of Anatolian carpets, so I occasionally paint black and white versions to draw attention to geometry, design and symbols.

I developed the tiny patchwork fragment technique to imitate the textures of a pile weave. Even though the effect reminds me more of mosaics, or even ripped paper, I really like it. I’ll continue to use this technique, even if it’s the reason why I now wear glasses. 

Painted with black ink, paper, and two tiny brushes.